Fight Your Shoplifting / Retail Theft Charge in Pennsylvania!

Get an Aggressive Criminal Lawyer to Protect Your Rights in Court!

Retail theft, also known as shoplifting, can be a serious criminal charge under Pennsylvania criminal laws. The penalties for shoplifting vary according to the value of the items involved, but any criminal charge must be taken seriously if you hope to avoid the harshest consequences now and in the future.

Call or contact us for a legal consultation, and we’ll let you know what you are facing, and exactly what we can do to help. There’s no obligation.  (888) 412-3298

Why Hire a Lawyer for a Simple Shoplifting Charge?

I get asked this all the time, and even if you are only facing a Summary Offense for retail theft (shoplifting) and the penalty isn’t that severe, this is still your one and only time to keep your record clean and avoid problems that could seriously affect you in the future.

Any conviction for retail theft can remain on your criminal record forever, and could affect future employment opportunities, scholarships, apartment rentals, or any situation where someone might do a simple background check on you.

Not to mention that if it ever happens again, you’ll be facing a 2nd offense retail theft charge that is an automatic misdemeanor, with a real risk of jail time. If that happens, you’ll regret not taking every opportunity to have a lawyer work for a dismissal and keep your record clean.

How to Beat a PA Shoplifting Charge

Pennsylvania Retail Theft Defense Strategies

There are often excellent legal defenses against retail theft / shoplifting charges. I will question how the facts of the case apply to the statute, whether or not they can prove that you deliberated attempted to steal anything, and look into the behavior of any store security personnel involved.

There may also be opportunities to reduce the charges, or pay restitution in exchange for the charges being dropped. The important thing is that, even if you know you made a mistake, that doesn’t mean you should be punished severely. You should still have an attorney looking out for your best interests who can argue for leniency and make sure a minor mistake doesn’t have to follow you around for the rest of your life.

Another good option for some people charged with a first offense shoplifting / retail theft case is what is known as and Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, or ARD. If the prosecution is willing to offer you and accelerated rehabilitative disposition plea, you will pay a fine, be place on probation for 1-2 years, and likely have to perform some community service.

If you do not commit any additional criminal offenses, after the probation period, the charge is removed from your record, so you will still have the opportunity to have a clean record. You will be able to honestly admit to having no criminal conviction.

ARDs are issued by the county, so it may not be available in all places, and in all circumstances. Please call me to discuss this option. Of course, depending on the facts surrounding your case, it may make sense to challenge the case in court and fight the charges upfront, before agreeing to a deal for an ARD.

As with any case, an experienced defense lawyer can only determine the best defense strategies after a thorough examination and analysis of the police report, and any other facts and evidence in the case.

Penalties for Retail Theft/Shoplifting in PA

Retail Theft Offense Category Maximum Penalty
Items over $2000 in value, or
theft is of a car or gun, or
is a 3rd offense
Third Degree Felony up to 7 years in prison
Items valued over $150 but under $2000 First Degree Misdemeanor up to 5 years in prison
under $150 in value and 2nd Offense Second Degree Misdemeanor up to 3 years in prison
under $150 in value and 1st Offense Summary Offense up to 90 days in jail

In addition, to the above maximum penalties, if you are found guilty of retail theft charges, you will face:

  • For a third offense, fines of at least $500 and a 30 day driver’s license suspension.
  • For a second offense, fines of $250-500.
  • For a first offense, fines of $10-250.

Is a 2nd Offense Shoplifting/Theft Charge Much More Serious?

Yes, definitely. If you are facing a second offense retail theft or shoplifting offense, you are at real risk of serious, life changing penalties, and a permanent criminal record. You need serious legal help to avoid the most serious consequences.

Many people who call me on a shoplifting charge of under $150, which no prior offenses don’t think it is worth the money to hire a lawyer, since the fine is usually minimal for a summary offense. I don’t always agree with that decision, since any shoplifting charge on your record can be damaging to you in the long term. But I understand why someone may feel they can take that risk to save a few dollars now.

But if you have a previous conviction and sentence on a shoplifting, you need to get excellent legal help to try to avoid a serious criminal penalty.

I didn’t even take anything. Can I still be charged with Retail Theft?

Yes, you can be arrested for retail theft in Pennsylvania for changing labels or price tags, disabling anti theft or security devices, or any behavior allegedly intending to deprive a retailer of the full value of merchandise.

Don’t run the risk of trying to deal with these charges on your own! Get some advice from an attorney who can protect your rights.

Please call me anytime or contact me via this form for a free legal consultation on how to defend a retail theft / shoplifting charge, or any other criminal charge. We work in courts across Pennsylvania. Call now at (888) 412-3298 .

– The attorneys of

Our firm represents clients facing retail theft and other criminal charges across Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Lebanon, Carlisle and Lancaster, and in Bucks, Montgomery, Northampton, and Lehigh Counties. Call today, no obligation!

(888) 412-3298